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It’s a different corporate client out there than in ages past. That’s the word we’re getting from a number of different sources as the corporate-tenant landscape continues to evolve. The most recent witness of change is Michael Sheinkop, a 14-year veteran of Equity Office Properties who in recent years–two to be exact–has served as executive vice president of Equis Corp., the Chicago-based consulting and advisory firm. In a recent exclusive interview, he reported to GlobeSt.com that the profile of the multinational tenant is being recast on a nearly daily basis, and he added that Equis is changing right along with it. To get a better sense of how the demands of one continue to shape the services of the other, read on:

GlobeSt.com: How do you differentiate yourself from other advisers out there?

Sheinkop: We deal only with end-users. We don’t represent other companies as agents like some of our competitors. In terms of size, we’re in 27 cities domestically and six cities internationally. There are 375 people working at Equis, and we represent a user-space portfolio of roughly 450 million sf.

GlobeSt.com: Obviously, the needs of corporate users continue to evolve. How do you characterize that evolution?

Sheinkop: It’s a very important question and yes, they’ve changed dramatically even over the past six months. Look at what’s happened to the landscape of corporate America. Look at the jobless recovery and the realities of profitability and culture. Corporate users have to change the way they’re doing businesses and they’re doing so at an accelerated rate.

GlobeSt.com: And how is that affecting their real estate holdings?

Sheinkop: Real estate impacts the culture as well as the balance sheet. Increasingly, decisionmakers realize that they are holding all of this real estate, but they need to drive growth. Investors too are asking themselves how to get cash off of their balance sheet as opposed to going into debt, and they’re turning to us to help them figure that out. It’s a totally different scenario today than that of a law firm that has 30,000 sf and needs to relocate. That’s not as complicated as dealing with a Daimler Chrysler or another large corporate space user that tells us they have millions of square feet on their books and they’re not sure it’s working. By the way, there’s been a particular proliferation among state governments focusing on their portfolios. We’ve been asked to get involved with large state and local municipalities to assess their holdings.

GlobeSt.com: So the sophistication is growing and multinationals are no longer losing track of their international square footage?

Sheinkop: That’s not as frequent a scenario as it used to be. We’ve run into a very high level of sophistication at the larger, branded companies. They’ve clearly figured out that when it’s time to cut costs they look at their two largest expenses—people and real estate. When you talk about people and productivity most of the clients we deal with don’t live through their leases without doing something to their space or within their work force that ultimately affects the space they were in.

GlobeSt.com: So what’s in today’s menu of services?

Sheinkop: When you’re talking about corporate-services delivery, you’re talking about transactional advisory, consultancy, data management, and facilities and portfolio management. We’re investing in trying to make those things stronger, bigger, better. It’s a function of listening to our customers, who are telling us they need more of all of these support processes. It’s the sheer force of the changing work environment. To that end, we’ve added more brokers, more portfolio-management expertise and more people in facilities management and project services.

GlobeSt.com: How does the off-shoring equation factor in?

Sheinkop: Some say this isn’t a bad thing. It makes sense because of cost comparisons. Others say intellectual property is migrating out of the US and we’ve got to put a stop to it. But you can’t stop it unless you legislate against it, and that’s a slippery slope. We’ve been providing corporate advisory services to large multinationals in support of their business objectives. We support it, and we think it’s going to lead to other parts of the globe–like China.

GlobeSt.com: How many people do you anticipate adding?

Sheinkop: We’ve been growing consistently by 15% to 20% over the past couple of years. I have personally hired more than 45 brokers since I arrived here. We expect that growth to continue.

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